Visionary leader, certified food scientist, internationally-renowned chef and business owner, Brad Kent, attends the Natural Food Expo in Los Angeles and discusses what’s ahead for this booming industry for 2022. With new innovations coming out every day it’s hard to keep up with all that has happened so far this year- yet alone what will happen next! The one person who seems perfectly suited towards helping us understand these trends? Chef Brad Kent.
Chef Brad has over 30 years of experience and expertise in natural foods and is the chef behind Blaze Pizza, Olio Pizzeria, Bagel+Slice. Chef Brad also developed all-natural refrigerated and frozen products for national retailers including Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Costco and many more. After attending the Natural Foods Expo on March 10th, he knows what’s happening in this industry. He can tell you all about it, too! Trends and topics he will discuss:
* Pre and probiotic
* Plant based foods
* Reduced sugar
* Better raised eggs
* Grass fed milk and beef
* Analogs to analogs (chick pea tofu)
* Regenerative organic
* Mushrooms for wellness
* Meal replacing snacks
* Oat things
* Alt sweeteners
* Eco packaging
* Biz with a purpose
* Pistachio is up and coming
Information on Chef Brad Kent:
He studied business in marketing at the University of Southern California (USC), but it was during his senior year of college in 1991 that Brad became truly hooked on the culinary industry. He immediately started two successful catering businesses “For Starters Catering” focused on appetizers and tapas, and “Bacchus Wine and Catering,” adding wine pairing to the mix.
Upon graduation, Brad applied and was accepted to the prestigious culinary school, Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in New York, where he studied technical skills alongside two award-winning chefs: Charlie Palmer at Aureole and Joachim Splichal at Patina.
Shortly after graduating with honors from the CIA in 1996, Brad was recruited for a position as a product developer and food scientist for the functional ingredients supplier, Cyvex Nutrition. While there, he attended California State University Long Beach, where he graduated Cum Laude with a degree in Food Science.
Brad then went to work for the United States Department of Defense in Massachusetts and served as their first ever Research Chef focusing on all-natural product development where he was able to use his knowledge from his culinary degree along with his food science degree. This made him an ideal candidate in regards to developing new field rations for the U.S. military. Brad’s work in the military industry led him to create award-winning products for both German and Canadian armed forces.
In 2002, when he returned to his home state of California after his time spent abroad, Brad was able to take over as head of the R&D team with “Two Chefs on a Roll”, an all natural private label food manufacturer. Additionally for many years Brad developed all natural refrigerated and frozen products for national retailers including Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Costco and many more. In 2004, Brad made a conscious decision to move back east, when he was hired as a private chef by a high-profile, Florida-based family for their motor yacht. During this time Brad established himself and created what would eventually become one of America’s most popular pizza chains, Blaze Pizza.
In 2007, Brad returned west and created the first mobile, wood-fired pizza business in Los Angeles, “Farmer’s Market Pizza.” His pizza passion and expertise led him to open the critically-acclaimed “Olio Wood Fired Pizzeria” in downtown Los Angeles’s beloved Grand Central Market in 2010. Olio has been ranked as one of the “Top-10 Destination Worthy Pizzas” by Zagat.
Taking pizza to the next level, Brad and his co-founders launched Blaze Pizza and by 2015, Blaze Pizza had become the fastest-growing chain of restaurants in history. He continues to work with Blaze Pizza as their Chief Culinary Officer.
Brad is a pizza maven with a passion for saving the planet. During the pandemic of 2020, Brad knew that protecting our world was more important now than ever before. He immersed himself in research, careful planning and advanced work in sourcing local and regenerative ingredients for his new venture, Bagel + Slice. The concept for Bagel+Slice is simple: reasonably priced extraordinary bagels and pizza all day in a warm neighborhood setting, focused on sustainability, community involvement, health and safety.